A/N: This story was written for h50_holidayswap on LiveJournal. My recipient is fry_addict who requested coming out fic, injured Five-0 member, h/c

Just to be clear: I'm not a doctor nor do I play one on TV. I have Google and sister who is a nurse. That's all I know about the injuries I'm using in my story. (Nothing graphic, I promise.)

Proofreaders: Lyricoloratura because she loves me enough to read this story when she's never seen an episode of Hawaii Five-0, and dante_s_hell because she rocks the most! If it hadn't been for these two awesome women, this story would have crashed and burned.

Hi, fry_addict. I hope this fits your request! Happy holidays!

Steve waited at the table while Danny visited the 'little boys' room' as he called it. Steve put the term down to making the explanation Grace-suitable. Not that Grace was with them or ever would join them in this particular establishment. The bar was decidedly not kid friendly though it was cop friendly. In that nobody cared what anyone did to earn the money they spent on the beer. The bar looked run-down but it wasn't nearly as shabby as it seemed. The owner was friendly to natives and haoles alike, his primary rule that all weapons be left outside. His openness to all comers attracted an eclectic crowd. Steve and Danny visited it fairly often when their work weeks finally wrapped up. More times than not, Chin and Kono were with them. Tonight they were at a family thing.

Steve contemplated his beer as he contemplated being here with just Danny. This bar was far too familiar for their time together to fall in the category of date. Not that their friendship had ever gotten close to anything other than friendship. Steve knew Danny had an eye for the ladies and was pretty sure his friend's actual and potential sexual partners were all of the female persuasion. Don't ask don't tell had apparently followed Steve from the Navy to Five-0. Except now it was more like don't think… don't ask…just don't.

A movement outside the window next to the table caught Steve's eye. The table, the one where they usually sat, faced the alley between the bar and the hardware store just next door. It was a dead-end, not even a parking lot accessible through the gap between the buildings. Why then were there three men walking toward the dead end? Or was it four? If it was four, one was significantly smaller than the burly men striding toward him.

The sight of them caused a clinch in his gut, enough so that he wove his way between the crowded tables to leave through the rarely used side door. The three large men were at the far end of the alley almost completely shrouded in darkness. The moonless night did nothing to disguise the ugly words they were saying as they stood in a semi-circle around the fourth man Steve had not imagined.

"We told you, faggot. You are not welcome here," the widest, most heavily tattooed thug snarled.

"That makes – what? Four times we've told him," the second man asked, kicking their victim. "Three's the limit. Four gets you a beat-down."

"How about zero is the limit?" Steve said, drawing the attention of the three men to him and away from their victim. Steve stood with his arms crossed over his chest, his posture stiff and unyielding.

"You got no part of this, haole," the first man informed him when they had all turned around. The second nodded in agreement, the third bouncing the aluminum baseball bat on the palm of his hand as they all took a step toward Steve.

"I do," Steve said, looking down at their intended victim. "Go."

The man, barely out of his teens from his looks, timidly nodded and squeezed by his tormentors, making himself even smaller to avoid touching any of them As he ran out of the alley, a noticeable limp making his hurried strides awkward, Steve was relieved there was no blood visible on the man's terrified face.

"How about you tell me what your problem is?" Steve challenged.

"Why? You a faggot lover? Or a fag yourself?" baseball bat-guy asked, sweeping Steve with his eyes. "You look like the type that enjoys bending boys over."

"You look like the type who would enjoy watching," Steve said, not flinching as they took another step closer. He mentally weighed them and decided his chances were better than even that he could take them down even if Danny didn't show up like he always seemed to do. He made himself notthink of the bitching Danny was going to do, not letting himself get distracted by how much he was looking forward to a good Danny rant.

"What did you say to me, fag?" the third guy demanded, anger twisting his already unattractive features.

"You deaf as well as a coward?" Steve retorted.

"Who you calling a coward?" the first demanded.

"The three of you cornered a man half your size. I call that an act of cowardice," Steve said. He could tell by the way guy #1 shifted his weight that he was going to take a swing. Steve expertly blocked his fist, effectively putting him out of action with a well-placed boot to his gut and follow-up knee to his nose that bloomed in a red spray of blood. The second guy jumped on Steve's back but he was able to shed him by crashing backward into the wall of the bar. Before Steve could fully regain his feet, the third guy swung the bat, making hard, solid impact on Steve's right arm that he had raised instinctively. When his arm jerked back, the force of the swing caught Steve just below the right eye. Steve went to his knees from the shock of pain, the world graying out as he knelt panting in the grimy alley. After all he'd seen, all he'd done, all he'd survived, this was how it was going to end. A guy in an alley with a baseball bat.

The highly trained portion of Steve's brain screamed at him to get up, attack, defend, breathe through it. But his ears were ringing, his face pierced with agony, his vision blurred. And he was pretty sure his arm was broken. As time slowed, all he could do was wait for the final, deadly blow.

When the shot rang out, he recoiled, wondering where the pain would erupt. But the noise didn't herald additional pain. The bullet landed in the man with the bat, sending him bleeding to the ground, dead before he hit it.

"Steve, Steve," Danny's voice was calling through a long dark tunnel. "Steve. What happened?"

Steve tried to answer but his mouth was filled with blood. And saliva. Before he could prevent it, he was retching all over Danny's shoes, the vomit mostly pink liquid.

"What'd they do to you?" Danny asked, reaching out to cradle Steve's cheek. Steve gasped and withdrew, retching again. Danny slid down behind him, a strong arm wrapped around Steve's chest as he continued to retch, his body trembling from the efforts. He was soaked through with sweat, his clothes sticking to his body, the beads of perspiration rolling down his neck. "All right. The ambulance is on the way," Danny said, holding Steve tight against his body. "They won't be long. We'll get you patched up." Danny kept up a litany of calm words, not even sure himself what he was saying. He only knew Steve was in agony and there wasn't anything he could do to help except wait.

It was only a few minutes later that four uniforms arrived, cuffing and carting off the two perps who were injured but alive. The third they left for Max to collect.

"Is there anything I can do, sir?" one of the uniforms asked when he knelt in front of Danny as he held tight to Steve's shivering body.

"Where is the ambulance?" Danny asked more sharply than he intended. But Steve's breathing was becoming labored and he was moaning with each breath. He hadn't responded to any of Danny's questions although Danny was pretty sure he was still conscious, if just barely.

The policeman contacted dispatch, informed that the ambulance was two minutes from their location. He then went to his car for a blanket that he carefully draped around Steve and Danny.

"Thank you, Punawai," Danny said with a look up at the policeman. He'd mostly ignored Danny when he'd still been on the force. Since Danny had been conscripted into Five-0, Punawai had been reluctantly helpful which was preferable to outright hostile.

"I've contacted Lieutenant Kelly and Officer Kalakaua. They will meet you at the hospital," Punawai said.

Danny nodded, holding tighter to Steve's limp body. The pain and injuries had taken their toll, Steve passing out. Danny's arms were the only thing preventing him from sprawling out on the filthy pavement.

Panic was just starting to set in at the complete stillness that was so rare in Steve when Danny heard the siren approaching. After that, it was all a blur as the paramedics took care of Steve. Danny was vaguely aware of them splinting Steve's arm and putting him in a neck brace before strapping him to the sturdy backboard. Danny wanted to ask if that was really necessary but was too consumed with worry to be able to articulate those thoughts. One of the paramedics questioned Danny to determine if he was also injured. Apparently Officer Punawai assured him that Detective Williams was unharmed for which Danny was immensely grateful.

"I'll drive you to Queens," Punawai said, a hand on Danny's arm as Steve was expertly lifted into the ambulance.

"I need to go with him," Danny protested, trying to break through the haze that had descended over him.

"You can't," Punawai said quietly.

"Can't?" Danny repeated. How did that make sense? Steve was his partner?

"Not in an official medical sense. Not yet," Punawai said. Only then did Danny realize he'd asked those questions out loud. "You aren't a relative and don't have power of medical attorney. You can't go with."

Danny looked up at Punawai, frowning even harder when the ambulance doors closed firmly and they sped off.

"Come on, Danny. I'll take you," the officer said, firmly guiding Danny to his cruiser. Danny finally nodded, glancing down at his shirt. It had been light blue when the day started. Now it was… destined for the trash can.

"Who called you?" Danny asked when he was sitting in the front of the cruiser. The seatbelt was across his chest but he didn't remember fastening it.

"Their intended victim. I gather that after he told the bartender, someone called 9-1-1."

Danny didn't respond, staring out the window. The man being harassed had made a bee-line to the bartender who had immediately alerted Danny that his…that Steve was in some sort of trouble. Danny had detoured by the Camaro for his gun before going in the alley to investigate. If only he'd gotten there 10 seconds sooner. Steve wouldn't be strapped to a backboard with an oxygen mask over his face and an IV stuck in his left arm.

When they got to the emergency room, Chin and Kono were waiting for Danny. They thanked Officer Punawai for alerting them and after asking if there was anything else he could, he left them to their vigil.

"Any news?" Danny asked as he allowed Chin to guide him to the waiting area.

"It's way too early for that," Chin reminded him gently.

"He's going to be fine, Danny. You have to know that," Kono told him, her hand on his as she sat next to him.

"The bat," Danny said, shaking his head.

"Do you know what happened?" Chin asked, studying his friend's face with a worried expression that he so seldom wore.

"Not exactly, no. We were having a beer and I went to the bathroom. When I came out, Steve was gone. The witness…or victim… or…." Danny waved that away, taking a deep breath. "He's only 19. He doesn't know if he like girls or boys. Who is sure at that age?"

"Who's 19?" Kono asked gently.

"The guy Steve stopped from being beaten. The thugs called him a faggot and threatened to…kill him I guess. Steve saw them and went to find out what was going on. He stopped the beating but they turned on him. It was the baseball bat that did the damage," Danny said.

"A baseball bat?" Chin asked with a flinch at the idea of it.

"Yeah," Danny said. "The thugs were huge. Their victim weighs less than one of their legs but they were going to go to town on him because they decided he was gay." Danny shook his head. Even after all the years of being a cop, the inhumanity people were capable of still astounded him.

"What happened to them? The thugs?" Kono asked.

"Steve knocked two of them out. The third's dead. I shot him as he was about to use Steve's head for batting practice."

"Brah," Chin said, shaking his head. It was sympathetic and understanding and approving all in one word.

"Yeah," Danny said. He was starting to feel the adrenaline crash and could only hope it wouldn't be too hard or last too long.


As Steve began to surface from the shroud of darkness, he tried to determine where he was. He didn't feel in any immediate danger. His head seemed to be encased in pain, his heart sending arrows of bright, hot pain through his skull with each beat. He was laying on a bed… or table. Light was leaking in around his closed eyes. The light which reached his brain caused more flares of piercing pain.

He tried to reach up to cover his eyes to stop some of the pain but his right arm was immobilized. When he tried to move his left arm, he was stopped by a small, warm hand on his.

"You're okay," the kind but firm voice said. She sounded certain and reassuring enough that he was able to relax just a little. Not a hostile then. "Can you tell me your name?" she asked. He sensed she was moving closer but not in any threatening way.

"Lieutenant Commander Steven J. McGarrett," he said. His voice was rough and his tongue was trying to stick to the roof of his mouth. He could taste the unfortunate aftermath that meant he had recently vomited but the details were indistinct.

"Yes," the voice said in approval. "Do you know where you are?"

"Hospital?" Steve guessed. Made sense considering the amount of pain he was in. He tried opening his eyes to confirm his suspicions but they were apparently taped shut? "Eyes?"

"They are being kept closed. To protect them," she explained. "Are they hurting you?"

"Maybe?" he said, not sure how much of the pain was radiating out from his eyes. Had he been blinded by whatever had put him in the hospital?

"Your vision is going to be fine," she said. He wasn't sure he'd asked out loud or if she just instinctively understood his concern. "Can you tell me where this hospital is?"

"Hawaii. Honolulu," Steve said.

"Precisely. And can you tell me who is president of the United States?" she asked.

"Barack Obama unless there's been a coup," Steve said. That was more info than she requested but it seemed important to inform her that he was still aware enough to be on alert to possible hostilities.

"No coup, Commander," she said, a warm laugh in her voice. "I know you are in a lot of pain. I'll give you something to help with that."

"Wha' happen'd?" he asked, the pain weighing him down and making it hard for him to ask his questions.

"You were attacked. We are checking for facial and cranial fractures. Your right arm is in a cast. Can you lay still for just a few more minutes while we finish the scan?" she asked.

"Don't have much choice," Steve admitted. "My head?"

"I know," she said in sympathy. "The pain medication will help in just a minute."


"Is that your partner?" she asked.

"Uh huh."

"He's in the waiting room. Once you're settled in a room, he'll be allowed to stay with you. I doubt you'll be awake when we move you," she warned.

He could feel the warmth of the medication she must have injected into his IV. It spread out from his left arm, bringing with it the heavy drowsiness he associated with being medicated. He was safe and in a secure location. There was no reason not to allow the medicine to do its job….


"And I don't know where you got this ludicrous notion that you are indestructible," Danny's voice was saying when Steve began to surface again. Danny's voice was a welcome, familiar thread Steve could follow back to full consciousness. "You aren't. You are a human being, Steven. A human being. Albeit a highly trained one. But they can't train the human out."

"Albeit?" Steve croaked, feeling Danny's surprise transmit through their hands. Apparently Danny was clinging tightly to Steve's left hand as he rambled.

"Yes, Steven. Albeit. It's a perfectly fine word. Just because you don't use it doesn't mean I shouldn't," Danny was saying in a warmer, softer tone. Steve could feel their hands shift as Danny apparently stood up. "How are you feeling?"

"Like I lost?" Steve said. He tried opening his eyes to see how that would go. His left eye cooperated but his right remained stubbornly closed. The lights in the room were mercifully low, the pain not flaring as he squinted up at Danny.

"Understandably," Danny said, a soothing hand tracing over Steve's brow. "You in a lot of pain?"

"Enough," Steve decided. His head was throbbing and his arm was hurting in time with his heartbeat. "Diagnosis?"

"You have a broken eye socket, officially a zygomatic orbital rim fracture. Your arm is broken and is in a cast. It's not a real concern now unless you do something stupid. No pins. And let's keep it that way," Danny said, gently grasping the fingers of Steve's right hand that were peeking out of the end of the finger-to-bicep cast. "Warm and pink. They need to stay that way," Danny said in what sounded like a warning.

"Okay," Steve agreed tiredly. "My eye?"

"Your eye socket will need to be surgically repaired but it won't effect your good looks," Danny told him. "The damage is bad enough but not as bad as it could have been."


"It won't be affected," Danny said. "Unless, again, you do something really stupid. You're going to have to wait to have the surgery. So the swelling can go down. You'll have an amazing black eye to show off."

"Go home?"

"Babe. Really? Right now you are higher than a kite. You only just got out of the neck brace. You have tubes everywhere you can have tubes and an IV keeping you hydrated and medicated. Don't you think you need to wait for at least a little while?"

"No," Steve whispered. "Water?"

"Little sips," Danny said, pouring some into a cup and giving Steve access to the straw. "Tiny sips."

"Uhn," Steve grunted, letting go of the straw. "How long?"

"How long have you been here?" Danny asked, Steve barely nodding. "You got here 18 hours ago, more or less. Chin and Kono only left a few minutes ago. They'll be back very soon."

"Don't need to," Steve said.

"You may not need them here. But they need to see you in one piece. And I need to let your nurse know you are awake," Danny said, squeezing Steve's hand. "Be a good boy while I'm gone."

Steve snorted. As if he had any option. He was nearly overwhelmed by the pain, the throbbing in his head gaining force by the second. It was the all-encompassing, nausea inducing pain that he had only experienced from fractures and broken bones. He sincerely hoped that the water he'd sipped wasn't about to make a reappearance.

"Commander," a chipper voice said. He squinted in the direction to find a woman in teal blue scrubs standing by his bed. That she'd entered his room without him being aware of it was of some concern to him. But Danny was standing just next to her so that might explain his lack of alertness to her entry. "You're in pain, I hear."

He nodded as well as he could, pressing the back of his left hand to his mouth.

"Are you nauseous?" the nurse asked, studying him with an all-knowing expression.

"Of course he is. Not like he'd admit it," Danny scolded, shaking his head.

Steve tried to give him the evil eye but with only one working, he wasn't sure he succeeded. And frankly he was so busy sweating and shivering and trying not to puke on Danny's shoes, again, he couldn't muster up enough energy to put his all into scowling at him.

"All right," the nurse said, holding a syringe. "I need to administer this in your posterior. Can you roll onto your left side?"

Steve frowned but managed with Danny's help to expose his backside to her. He wondered why the medication couldn't go into his IV but that thought fled when she injected him. "Oh," he gasped quietly.

"I know. It's not pleasant but it's very effective. And it works best intramuscular rather than through your IV," she explained, helping him to roll onto his back. "It will help in just a minute."

"Thank you," Danny said on Steve's behalf, fussing over the blankets and making sure they were as snug over Steve's bare chest as they could be.

"This will help with the pain," she said, injecting the second medicine into the IV. "You'll probably fall asleep, Commander. So don't worry if it happens."

He nodded before looking up at Danny. "Thanks."

"Go to sleep, you goof," Danny said, shaking his head and resuming his seat next to Steve's bed.

Steve's nurse was checking the lines and the monitors, nodding at what she saw. "He's going to be fine," she said to Danny as she made notes on her iPad.

"I don't doubt it," Danny said. "He's too stubborn for any other outcome."

"Are you and he partners?" she asked with a warm smile.

"Work partners," Danny said, looking up at her. "Why?"

"He's clearly glad to have you here. Family support can be one of the most important factors that determine recovery. It's obvious you care for him."

"He's a pain in my ass," Danny claimed, making the nurse laugh.

"Doesn't mean you don't love him," she said, a comforting hand on his shoulder. "Let me know if you need anything."

"Thanks," he said, watching her leave him to his thoughts. Doesn't mean you don't love him. Those words echoed in his head. That Steve was his best friend was undeniable and beyond question. But that's all they shared – a deep and abiding friendship. That was a form of love. Surely that's what the nurse meant. Because Danny was sincere when he said Steve was a pain in his ass. They'd gone out for beer. Like normal people. How had that ended with Steve being transported to the hospital in an ambulance? How was this his life even?

"How is he?" Kono whispered as she tip-toed into the room, Chin right behind her.

"He was a wake a few minutes ago. For five minutes. In a lot of pain," Danny said. "The nurse gave him something for the nausea and the pain."

"So he's back asleep," Chin said, gazing down at their friend as he slept. It was just wrong for Steve to be so completely still. He never stopped moving.

"Yeah. He wanted to know if I was here to take him home," Danny said, shaking his head.

"Of course he did," Kono said, sitting next to Danny. "Go home. Take a shower. Get something to eat. We'll call if there's any change."

Danny shook his head at that, looking over at Kono's beautiful, worried face. "No. I need to stay. He'll be confused if I'm not here."

"We'll be here, brah," Chin said. "And he'll sleep for several hours."

"I don't know," Kono laughed softly. "Super SEAL is probably fighting the medicine as we speak."

"No doubt," Danny agreed. "How is the little guy? The victim?"

"Okay, I think. I heard he wants to thank you and especially Steve," Kono said.

"Once Steve is up to it," Danny said. "What about the thugs?"

"Records longer than you are tall," Kono said. "Bad news from the word go. The dead one had outstanding warrants here and in several mainland states."

Danny nodded, taking a deep breath.

"Go, Danny. We'll stay," Chin said firmly.

"Just long enough to eat and change," Danny finally agreed, standing up to look down at the filthy shirt he still wore, the one with Steve's blood on it. "If he does wake up, tell him I'll be right back. And call me the second he opens his eyes…or eye. Singular since his right one is taped shut. Anyway. I'll be back as soon as I can."

"It's fine, brah," Kono said. "We'll watch him. And we will let you know the second there is any sign of him waking up."

"Okay," Danny said, turning toward the door. "Okay. I'll call Mary."

"I already did it," Kono said. "She won't come unless she needs to. She sends her love to you and to Steve."

"Thank you," Danny said with a nod. "All right. I won't be long."

"Danny," Chin said, an arm across his shoulders. He used it to steer Danny out the door and down the hallway. "He's not in any danger. He's hurt, yes. But you know his injuries aren't life-threatening."

"I know," Danny sighed. "I just…"

"I understand. Go eat. Shower. Come back when you are ready."

Danny nodded, getting on the elevator when it arrived. "Thanks."

"No worries, brah. We'll be here."

"Right," Danny said, pressing the button to go down in the elevator.

Chin returned to Steve's room to sit next to Kono, watching her watch Steve. "He's going to be fine, cuz."

"I know," she said, taking a deep breath. "I just hate seeing him so still. It's unnatural."

"Yeah," Chin agreed. "I thought about asking Danny if Steve constantly moves when he's asleep."

"How would Danny know?" Kono asked, a tiny confused frown marring her face.

"Because they sleep together," Chin said, frowning at Kono's frown.

"No they don't. They aren't involved…involved."

"Of course they are. Everyone knows that," Chin said.

"Everyone is wrong. They are best friends, Chin. Nothing more. Danny's never slept with any man. Especially not Steve."

"You have to be wrong," Chin insisted. "You see how they are together. Like an old married couple."

"Yeah. But they aren't together like that. Danny would tell me if they were."

"I think you're wrong," Chin said.

"I'm not. Are you doubting my woman's intuition?" she said, her pre-ass kicking face firmly in place.

"No. Never," Chin said, holding up both hands in surrender. "I'm not the only one who thinks that, you know."

"Doesn't matter. It still isn't true," she told him. The certainty in her voice was enough to close the discussion for Chin. He was surprised to be wrong but Kono had spoken the truth – when it came to matters of the heart, she missed the target about as often as she did with her rifle.


In a little less than three hours, Danny was back in Steve's hospital room talking quietly to Kono and Chin. "Any change?" Danny asked.

"No. Sleeping soundly," Kono said. "The plastic surgeon stopped by. He wanted to talk to Steve but will be back on rounds."

"I'll talk to him," Danny said.

"No brah. You don't have authority to make those decisions," Kono pointed out.

Danny sighed and shook his head. "This is the second time I've been told that since this happened. He's signing authority to me as soon as he can hold a pen."

"Does he have yours?" Kono asked gently.

"Not yet. Rachel still does. But I'll switch it to him," Danny decided. "Where are those forms? On-line?"

"We'll find them," Chin promised. "You ate?"

"I did," Danny said with a shrug.

They talked about the fact that Chin had alerted the Governor who said they would stand down for as long as it took to get Steve back. "Did you call Grace?" Danny asked.

"We didn't," Kono said. "We thought you'd want to explain."

"Yeah," Danny agreed. "I think I'll go outside and do that now."

"We'll be here," Kono assured him with a nod.

"I'll be right back," Danny said, leaving the room to hustle outside. "Hey Monkey," Danny said when Grace had answered.

"What's wrong Danno?" Grace asked. Because she was an exceptionally smart and perceptive child.

Danny explained that Steve had been hurt. He was going to be okay but would have a really bad black eye and his arm was in a cast.

"Can I come see him?" Grace asked, trying hard to sound braver than she felt.

"He'll be released tomorrow," Danny said. "I'll ask Rachel to bring you over to see him." There was only silence on the other end as Danny waited. "Okay, Monkey?"

"Okay," she said softly, sniffing.

"You don't need to cry. Steve is going to be good as new. I promise."

"Okay," she whispered again. "Are you okay, Danno?"

"I am, baby. I wasn't there when it happened," he said.

"He didn't wait for back-up?" she asked, her disapproval reminding him of Rachel in ways he found equally amusing and disconcerting.

"No he did not," Danny confirmed. "When you come tomorrow, you can remind him."

"I will," she agreed firmly. "Will you give me a kiss for me?"

"I'll pass on the message," Danny said. So even his daughter thought that he and Steve were more than friends? Was he the only person unaware of the apparently universal opinion concerning his involvement with Steve? Did Steve know and fail to share it with him?

"Here's Mommy," Grace said. Danny heard her passing over her phone, telling Rachel that Steve was hurt.

"Danny?" Rachel asked, concern in her voice.

Danny explained, in a little more detail, what had happened and that Steve would be released the next day.

"When will he have surgery?" Rachel asked.

"I'm not sure. Once the swelling goes down?" Danny said.

"And it is safe for Grace to visit with him?"

"Safe?" Danny repeated. "He's not contagious, Rachel. She won't break her arm by being near him. Why would you even say…."

"Daniel," she said, interrupting him gently but firmly. "I am concerned about him. Not about Grace."

Danny took a deep breath, releasing it slowly. "I'm sorry."

"I know. You've been there almost the entire time. Will 3:00 o'clock be acceptable for me to drop off Grace?" Rachel asked in an effort to smooth things over.

"Yes," Danny said. "Thank you."

They chatted very briefly before ringing off, Danny returning upstairs. Chin and Kono said there had been no change so they settled in to wait.

The instant Steve shifted, Danny was standing by the bed, holding tight to Steve's left hand. "Easy, big guy. Take it easy," Danny said, looking down at him.

Steve frowned, wondering briefly why Danny was in his bedroom. Not that he objected in any way but he was confident Danny hadn't been there when he went to sleep. Or… well. He didn't remember going to bed. Wait. Something was off. What was with all the pain? What the hell?

As Steve struggled to open his eyes, it all came flooding back. Right – he was in the hospital. Again. That accounted for the smells and the sounds that did not originate with the ocean. He was in the hospital because he was on the wrong end of a baseball bat. When he finally managed to open his left eye, he squinted up at Danny. "Hey."

"Hey yourself," Danny said with a smile down at him. "Welcome back."

"Uhn," Steve grunted, carefully turning his head. "Hi," he said when he saw Chin and Kono hovering nearby.

"Boss," Kono said with a smile.

"You did it this time," Chin said, shaking his head.

"Apparently," Steve had to agree.

"How's the pain?" Danny asked, studying the furrow between Steve's eyebrows. That never did bode well.

"You know," Steve said, trying to wave it away with his left hand.

"Right. Of course," Danny said, shaking his head. "Are you nauseous?"

"No. Thirsty," Steve decided, looking around for the water. Danny poured it and helped him to drink from the tiny cup. "Thanks. When am I being released?"

"Do you see?" Danny demanded of Chin and Kono. "He can't sit up enough to drink. But what is his first question? Do you see what a pain in my ass he is?"

Chin and Kono just smiled at him, Danny looking over his shoulder down at Steve. "Pain. In. The. Ass."

"So I've heard," Steve said. "Did the doctor come by?"

"The plastic surgeon did while you were in dreamland. He should be back by shortly to talk about fixing your eye socket," Danny said.

"Then I can leave," Steve said.

"Not until tomorrow," Danny corrected. "The emergency room doctor said you had to stay overnight."

"Why?" Steve asked.

"Your breathing was labored. They need to x-ray your arm in the morning to double check. There was so much swelling they couldn't be 100% sure the bones are aligned," Danny said.

"You could bring me back," Steve said.

"I could but I'm not. You are stuck here until the morning," Danny told him. "But if you are very good and do as the doctors and nurses tell you, not only will you be released in the morning but Gracie will be paying you a visit."

"Grace-face is coming over?" Steve asked, smiling as well as he could manage.

"She is. Her mother is dropping her off tomorrow at 3:00. If that doesn't guarantee you'll do as you're told, nothing will," Danny said.

"Yeah," Steve had to agree.

"On a scale of 1 to 10, how's the pain? The truth?" Chin said, watching to make sure Steve didn't lie to them.

"About a 6. Maybe a 7," Steve said. "But I want to stay awake until the surgeon comes."

"Understandably," Kono agreed.

"As soon as we are out of here, you are signing your medical power of attorney over to me. They can be back-up but I don't need to wait around for you to regain consciousness to make your own decisions," Danny said in a tone that meant business.

"Yes dear," Steve said, almost smiling when Kono and Chin laughed. "I'll need yours."

"That's just fine. But of the four of us in this room at this moment, who may I ask will be the most likely to be laying unconscious and bleeding in an alley?"

"You?" Steve replied because he knew it would annoy Danny.

"Oh sure. I went to the bathroom, Steven. The bathroom. I can't leave you alone long enough to see to my bodily needs. I come out of the bathroom where I was for less than one minute and you are bleeding and broken in the alleyway. You know you should have waited. But no. Not you. You rush in where angels fear to tread."

"He'd have been dead, Danno," Steve said quietly.

Danny stopped at those words. What was there to say? "You can't know that for sure, Babe," Danny said much more gently. "And we nearly lost you."

"But you didn't," Steve pointed out. He knew Chin and Kono were still in the room but all of his attention was focused on Danny. He had to make him understand. Not just about the guy he had saved but what it meant in the overall scheme of things.

"I know," Danny said, reaching over to take Steve's hand. "I know."

"And he's okay?" Steve asked, looking over at Chin and Kono who nodded.

"No permanent harm," Kono confirmed. "He wants to thank you."

"I said once you're up to it," Danny said.

"Yeah," Steve agreed. They all looked over at the door when the doctor bustled in. He was a short, middle-aged Hawaiian wearing a starched white lab coat, wireless glasses, and a serious expression.

"Commander," the doctor said, striding over to the right side of Steve's bed. "I'm Doctor Kalakaua."

"Any relation?" Danny asked Kono.

"Probably," she said, smiling with dimples at the doctor.

"You are also a Kalakaua?" he asked.

"I am," she agreed.

"Good lineage," the doctor said. "How are you feeling?" he asked Steve.

"I've been better but I've been worse."

"Yes. Reviewing your medical history was interesting reading," Dr. Kalakaua said with a nod. "Still. SEALs are not trained to sit behind a desk. I also reviewed the scan of your zygomatic orbital rim fracture. It is serious but not as bad as it might have been."

"That's good," Steve said.

"I need to remove the bandages," Dr. Kalakaua said. "There will be tugging from the tape. If there is additional pain, alert me immediately."

Steve nodded, waiting as the doctor gently pulled the taped bandages from over his eye. The light leaking in around his eyelid did not cause a flair of additional pain which was a relief.

"Can you open your eye?" the doctor asked. He glanced over at Danny, Kono, and Chin. "And you are comfortable having them present?"

"Yes," Steve said, looking up at Danny. He was staring down at Steve, shaking his head.

"That's some bruising," Danny said. Steve could understand why he said that, the swelling enough that he could see it in on the edges of his vision.

"This isn't as bad as I had feared," the doctor said, shining his pen light on the bruising. "May I check your ocular function? The light may appear too bright but it will only be momentary."

Steve nodded, waiting as the doctor flashed the light into his right eye. There were accompanying flashes of pain but it wasn't as excruciating as it had been when it originally happened. This pain barely registered compared to where it had been.

"Very good," Dr. Kalakaua said with a nod. "Follow my finger and alert me to any discomfort."

Steve traced the movement of the doctor's finger with ease, only the swelling interfering.

"No pain in moving your eye?" the doctor asked.

"None," Steve said.

The doctor nodded, peering closer. "It looks as though you may have sustained minor ocular bruising but nothing traumatic. Avoid rubbing your eye until it has had time to heal. Are you having floaters – black spots across your vision?"

"I don't know," Steve said.

"You probably will. Not unusual," the doctor said, consulting his iPad. "Given the status of your injury and taking into consideration your overall health, I will be able to repair your fracture immediately. Tomorrow morning."

"Already?" Steve said in relief.

"Certainly. Surgery is not contraindicated with the current degree of swelling. Immediate surgery can forestall any possible complications."

"Immediate is better," Steve agreed.

"Very good," the doctor said. "I'll have the nurse draw the necessary blood. I have an opening on my surgical schedule at 7:30 in the morning. If there are no complications, you will be released at 12:30 providing you have a ride. Which," he said, glancing over at the other three, "I see will not pose any problem."

"What about afterwards?" Danny asked, knowing Steve had no intentions of it.

"Recovery is fairly straight-forward. Overall physical mobility is already limited because of the broken arm. You'll be prescribed antibiotics on a precautionary basis. It's important that you do notblow your nose," the doctor said with a smile.

"Too much pressure," Steve confirmed.

"Precisely," Dr. Kalakaua agreed. "Do you have any additional questions?"

"I don't," Steve said.

"Very good," the doctor said. "You'll need to have a follow up visit in a week. I'll give the phone number to your partner to set that up."

"That's fine," Danny agreed. "The nurse said he needed an x-ray on his arm to double-check the alignment."

"That can be taken care of immediately before the surgery. The x-rays will only take a moment. Then he can be taken to surgery."

"General anesthesia?" Chin asked.

"Yes. Nothing in your records indicate you cannot tolerate it," the doctor said.

"It's fine," Steve said. "It was something of a problem when I was on active duty but now it isn't."

"As is often the case," the doctor said. "Unless you have any other concerns, I'll see you in the morning. You won't see me, however."

Steve nodded, watching him leave after his farewells.

"So when you were a SEAL you couldn't be put to sleep?" Kono asked.

"I could if the doctors had high enough clearance. It was only necessary twice and both times they could hear anything I said," Steve said.

"You talk when you're under?" Chin asked.

"A lot of people do, from what I hear," Danny said. They all watched as the nurse entered with a tray of blood-drawing equipment and a serious expression.

"Go eat," Steve said. "You can come back when you're done."

"He needs to sleep," the nurse said, turning to give them the evil-eye. "Visiting hours are over."

"I'm not going anywhere," Danny told her firmly. He didn't care how scary she looked, she was not throwing him out. He could be even scarier if that became necessary. In cop versus nurse, it might be a tie when it came to intimidation – both verbal and visual.

"His recovery is more important than your need to stay," she said, her fists on her hips.

"They are not mutually exclusive," Chin said, stepping up beside Danny as reinforcement.

"In fact, one is dependent on the other," Kono added, joining forces with the guys.

She looked at them with a raised eyebrow before turning to Steve. "It's your call, Mr. McGarrett."

"They need to stay," Steve said. He was torn between wanting them to leave so they would have a sense of normal, and wanting them to stay because they so clearly needed to be there.

"Very well," she said, bustling about to draw his blood. Chin and Kono convinced Danny to come down with them to the cafeteria to have what passed there as food. He reluctantly agreed, promising Steve he'd be back as soon as the Bossy Twins allowed it.

"He's your partner?" the nurse asked as she gently inserted the needle into Steve's vein. Her previous stern attitude had morphed into kind and caring.

"My work partner," Steve agreed, staring up at the ceiling with both eyes.

"And?" she prompted, watching him.

"And… that's all," Steve said.

"You expect me to believe that is all he is to you?" she asked warmly.

"He's my best friend," Steve said. If he sounded tired or more emotionally invested than he normally would, he was going to put it solidly down to the pain that was returning in force.

"And?" she repeated.

Steve sighed. "Is relationship advice part of your services?" he asked. He meant for it to sound like a joke but he failed. Miserably.

"Sweetie, I have three grown sons. Two are married with the most beautiful grandchildren any mother could ever hope to hold. The third is in love but won't admit it to anyone, not even himself. I recognize the signs. I don't know what he thinks would happen if he just told his 'best friend' how he felt. Especially since I'm pretty sure the feeling is mutual."

"You've been in here for less than five minutes. You know all this how?" Steve asked.

"I'm your third nurse, dear. We keep track of anything that could effect your recovery."

"But you told them they had to leave," Steve said.

She waved it away, shaking her head. "Only so we could chat. And they didn't really need to see this, did they?"

"I guess not," Steve said, glancing down at the vial that was filling up with his blood. "It's really too complicated."

"Matters of the heart generally are. Your friend is a Detective, right?"

"Yeah," Steve agreed.

"And he's good at his job?"

"The best."

"But he hasn't figured out how you feel about him?" she asked, narrowing her eyes at Steve.

"Well," Steve said. "Maybe he has and doesn't want to admit it. He's only ever dated women."

"Ahh…" she said, expertly sliding out the needle and taping over the puncture.

"Ahh – go for it? Or ahh – I'm S.O.L.?"

"That's something you have to figure out on your own, dear. But my advice is the same as I give my son – nothing ventured, nothing gained. Your friend loves you. It's how he defines that love in his head is what you have to find out."

"Yeah," Steve agreed. There were other things he could have said to her but, seriously, how did he tell her his thoughts on a potential relationship with Danny before telling Danny? Could it be more complicated?

"Is there anything else you need, dear? You can have water until 11:00. I'd offer to get you food but I suspect you aren't hungry," she said as she went about checking his vitals including holding the fingers on his right hand to check for warmth. "Can you squeeze my fingers?"

He did it as well as he could, managing to curl his fingers mostly all the way around hers.

"Very good."

"Some water," he said, reaching over for it, careful of the IV in his left arm. She picked up the cup, meeting him halfway. "Thanks."

"If there is anything you need, use the call button. Or have one of your bodyguards let us know," she said with a smile.

"I will," Steve replied. "Thank you for your help."

"You are more than welcome. And I'll be back to check on you a little later."

Steve watched her leave, her words echoing in his head. What was stopping him from telling Danny the truth about how he felt? What was the worst that could happen? Danny would shoot him? No – he was fairly confident that wouldn't be the outcome.

"That's some expression you have there, Babe," Danny said as he returned. "You considering who to kill next?"

"Sure," Steve said, looking behind Danny. "Where are the cousins?"

"I sent them home. They are on moving detail in the morning," Danny said as he resumed his seat by Steve's bed.

"Moving? Who's moving? One of their cousins?"

"No," Danny said shaking his head. "You always this dense? Or only after a blow to the head? Cause I got to say, Babe, you are not being the fastest car in the race right now."

"What?" Steve asked, his adorably confused face in full force. "You are making my head hurt."

"Chin and Kono are moving some of my clothes from my apartment to your house. To your house where I will be staying for the foreseeable future. You got that so far?"

"Yeah," Steve said, nodding slowly. "Why?"

"I'm not even answering that," Danny said. "You'll have to use the few brain cells still left to figure it out yourself."

Steve grunted at that, closing his eyes.

"Hey, hey," Danny said in a gentle voice, immediately standing next to him. "What?"

"I'm okay except you're wearing me out," Steve said, opening his eyes to meet Danny's worried blue ones.

"You also need pain medication. I can see it on your face. Attila the Nurse didn't take care of that for you?"

"I guess I forgot to mention it," Steve said with a one shoulder shrug.

"You forgot. Uh huh," Danny said, going over to the door. "If she doesn't take my head off, I'll be right back."

"She's actually very nice," Steve told him, Danny's face clearly expressing his doubt about the truth of Steve's statement.

"Excuse me," Danny said as he approached the nurse's desk. The one who had thrown him and the cousins out looked up at him, evaluating him critically.

"Yes?" she said, notin the most encouraging way possible.

"Steve needs some pain medication," Danny said, doing his best not to annoy her any more than just his presence did.

She turned her focus on her computer before glancing up at him. "He could have called."

"Normal people would have. You've met him. He strike you as normal?" Danny was completely surprised when she laughed.

"You have an excellent point," she said with a smile that lit her entire face. "I'll be right there, dear. Is he nauseous?"

"No. Just hurting," Danny said.

She nodded while typing into her computer. "I'll be there in two shakes of a lamb's tail."

"Thanks," Danny said, returning to Steve's room. "Be right here."

"So I was right, wasn't I?"

"You were. As much as it pains me to ever agree with you. She was nice," Danny had to admit.

"She is," Steve said, shifting briefly. "You know, I'll be just fine. You should go home and sleep."

"Yeah. No. Not going to happen. Just as soon as I turn my back, you'll be taking out your own IV and catheter and calling a cab to take you home. Staying right here, buddy boy," Danny informed him, looking over at the door when the nurse entered. "She agrees with me, don't you?"

"I've read your file," the nurse told Steve. "You would try to escape if left without adult supervision."

"He hardly qualifies," Steve claimed, making the nurse laugh.

"Still. It's the best we can do. Unless we handcuff you to the bed," she replied as she put the pain medication into his IV.

As Steve watched her inject it, he could have sworn that Danny said 'my thoughts on more than occasion' but he decided not to ask him. He looked up at the nurse who had a secretive smile on her face. She even winked at him. So maybe he hadn't imagined it after all. Huh.

It wasn't long before the world started to blur out and his eyes refused to stay open any longer. He was pretty sure that Danny was still talking as he fell asleep but the sound of his voice was second only to the ocean in lulling him to a peaceful sleep.


Bubbles. Everything was bubbles. Bubbles above him. Bubbles to lay on. Bubbles floating by, covered with iridescent rainbows. Bubbles everywhere.

He opened his eyes to find out if the pretty shiny bubbles would stay. Some did. Most vanished. They were replaced by something even better. Danny. His Danny was there.

"Danny Danny my Danno," Steve said. His smile threatened to break his face but he didn't care. There was his Danny. Right there. Close enough to touch.

"Steve," Danny said. He was laughing. That sounded like bubbles.

"Do you see them? Do you see how pretty they are?" Steve asked.

"See what, Babe? All I see is a SEAL doped out of his mind, coming out of anesthesia."

"Huh," Steve said, frowning very briefly. He didn't get to see the seal. Only the bubbles. Well. Never mind. Danny couldn't see the bubbles so he won.

"I didn't know it was a contest," Danny's laughing voice told him.

"The bubbles. So pretty," Steve said, watching as one floated by. Once it disappeared, he turned back to look up at Danny. "They're pretty. But not as pretty as you."

"Thank you. You are very pretty yourself."

"You think so, Danno? I'm pretty to you? Even with a black eye?" Steve asked seriously. This was very important.

"I do think so, Steve. I have for a…while," Danny told him.

"You're so pretty, Danno," Steve repeated.

"We've established that, Babe," Danny assured him. "We're both pretty. Although you probably win."

"Nope," Steve said, frowning. "Nobody's prettier than myDanno."

"I was unaware that I am yourDanno."

"You are. You are my Danno. I want you to be my Danno in every way. In every way a Danno can be a Steve's," Steve said, nodding to reinforce how serious he was about it.

"You do?" Danny asked.

His Danno wasn't smiling any longer. Where was his pretty smile? Why was he unhappy now?

"I'm not unhappy," Danny told him. "I guess I'm… confused."

"Confused," Steve repeated like he wasn't sure what it meant. "Confused."

"What are you trying to say, Babe? I usually speak fluent Steve. But I'm not so good with doped up post-operative Steve."

"I like you, Danno. I like youlike you. Like Gracie likes Bobby 'cept I'm not supposed to tell you that."

"I know she likes Bobby," Danny said, a hint of his smile returning. "What I didn't know was that you felt that way about me."

"Uh huh. Everybody knows. Everybody but you," Steve said firmly.

"Everybody, huh?"

"Everybody. Kono. Chin. Nurse Hun. Do you like me like that?" Steve asked.

"If I answer, are you going to remember?" Danny asked.

At least his beautiful blue eyes were smiling. That was good. "Yep. I don't forget anything you ever say. Ever. Even when you're ragging me about my cargo pants."

"That's impressive," Danny said. "Can you remember if you've ever had a sexual encounter with a man?"

"Uh huh. I can remember that," Steve said with a great deal of nods.


"And?" Steve parroted back to him.

"Have you? Had sex with men?" Danny asked slowly.

"Oh. Uh huh."

"I see," Danny said. "Do you know I haven't?"

"You haven't?" Steve asked.

"Had sex with a man," Danny clarified.

"Do you wanna? Cause I wanna. I wanna bad."

"I picked up on that," Danny said. "It's something I have to think about. I got to be honest."

"Oh. You don't like me like that," Steve said sadly.

"That's not what I'm saying, dope-head. I'm saying I never considered it a possibility."

"Oh," Steve said. "I'm goin' to go back to sleep now."

"You need to stay awake, Babe. Doctor's orders. And I thought you were firmly heterosexual," Danny said. That there was no judgment in the words got through all the drugs in Steve's system, and all the bubbles still floating by his head.

"Mostly," Steve said. "Sliding scale. You know – only mostly straight like in Grace's movie."

"That's only mostly dead," Danny laughed.

"Oh. Same. What will Grace say?"

"What will Grace say about what?" Danny asked.

"That you aren't mostly straight any more," Steve explained. He felt an impulse to wave his hand in emphasis but his right one was immobilized and his left was…huh…being held by Danny.

"That hasn't changed yet," Danny pointed out.

"But it will. Change. Sliding scale."

"So I'm a foregone conclusion? Is that what you're saying?" Danny asked.

"You love me. You think I'm pretty. You…love me," Steve said.

"No wonder you couldn't be given anesthesia if the doctors didn't have clearance. You can't keep a single thought inside your head, can you?"

"You don't love me?" Steve asked. If he was pouting, he was putting it down to the drugs and nothing else.

"Oh Babe," Danny said with a sigh. "It's more complicated than that. Of course I love you. I sure wouldn't have spent all this time here if I didn't. But loving you and making love to you are two different things."

"They are?" Steve asked, trying very hard to focus on what Danny was saying. Because he was using his 'this is very important' voice. Steve knew better than to ignore anything he said in that voice.

"Seriously, Steve. We need to have this conversation later. When you aren't fascinated by bubbles only you can see. And you can keep track of what we're saying for longer than 2 seconds."

"Okay, Danno. If that's what you want," Steve said, all agreeable.

"See. That right there proves you aren't in your right mind. You never agree with me. About anything."

"Not true. Not even a little bit true," Steve said. "We agree I drive your car."

"YOU agree you drive my car," Danny said, shaking his head.

"Oh," Steve said. "Okay. You aren't leaving, right?"

"Leaving? Why would I be leaving? I'm staying so I can drive you home."

"If you are mad at me. If you don't like me like I like you, you'll leave. That's why I never said before. How I feel. About the sliding Princess scale."

"I'm not going to leave you, you goof. I do love you. I'm not uncertain about that. It's taking it to the next level I'm not sure about."

"Uh huh," Steve said, accompanied by excessive nodding.

"Uh huh what?" Danny asked.

"I don't know," Steve confessed. "I thought I should still be agreeable."

"I see," Danny laughed. "How's your head?"

"Okay. Eye hurts like a bitch."

"I'll bet it does. They went through your eye socket to patch the bone. That's why it's even more bruised than before."

"Uh huh," Steve said because it was safe. So why not stick with it?

"Do you have any idea what I just said to you?" Danny asked, watching Steve watch the bubbles float by. Danny had never seen Steve like this before and he found it both strange and endearing. This was not the bad-ass SEAL that could kill with just his thoughts. This was not the Steve who knew exactly what he was doing and let nothing stand in his way.

And what did Danny think about Steve's sliding Princess scale? He wasn't really surprised that Steve wasn't 100% heterosexual. Although they had never discussed it, and he'd only seen Steve flirt openly with women, he knew a lot of people were on that particular sliding scale. He had no objections to anything anyone might choose to do behind closed doors so long as both parties were legal and agreeable.

As far as his own scale, he didn't hesitate to acknowledge to himself that his feelings toward Steve had slid progressively closer to 'I want his mouth on my dick' over the past two years. Maybe that was why Danny never successfully found a woman he wanted to date long-term. Maybe he knew his heart and soul already belonged to Steve? He was fascinated by Steve and everything that made him so…Steve. Part of that was the undeniable sexuality Steve exuded just by breathing. No one Danny had ever met was as attractive to him as Steve. Combine that with his huge heart, he was irresistible to Danny in every way. Maybe that answered all the questions he'd had up to this point.

Well. There was nothing to be done until Steve had recovered from this anesthesia induced honesty. Danny hoped none of Steve's enemies, past, present, or future learned of the effect of putting Steve under. Wo Fat would have known exactly how much information Steve possessed about Shelburne and Steve would not have survived that encounter.

"My eye was the entry point of the surgical procedure," Steve said, sounding more sober. But he was still watching his invisible bubbles so Danny figured he had only partial higher-brain function.

"Yes," Danny confirmed. "Dr. Kalakaua will be here in about an hour. If he is satisfied with your post-operative situation, he'll release you into my custody."

"Are you arresting me?" Steve asked with a goofy grin.

"No but I may use my handcuffs on you. To make sure you stay put."

Steve crooked a finger at him until Danny leaned closer so Steve could whisper to him. "You can handcuff me any time you want."

"Good to know," Danny laughed.

"Preferably naked," Steve told him seriously.

"That will be on our list of discussion topics," Danny promised.

"You moving in with me on the list?" Steve asked.

"Whoa. Slow down there cowboy. We should at least go out on our first date before we discuss living arrangements."

"We were on a date. Until I was used for batting practice," Steve said.

"Well. I can't really argue with that," Danny laughed. "All right. On our second date, we'll discuss living arrangements."

"And sex? We'll discuss having sex?" Steve asked hopefully.

Danny shook his head, gently caressing Steve's left cheek. "You have it bad."

"I do. I got the fever and you're the only cure," Steve said, Danny grimacing at his attempts to sing.

"Don't sing," Danny said, shaking his head.

"'Kay," Steve agreed happily. Whatever Danny wanted, he could have. Because that would make Danny happy. Which would make Steve happy. Then everybody would be happy.


Steve had been out of the hospital for just under a week, Danny living with him the entire time. There was no way he was going to trust Steve not to try and go swimming with his cast. Swimming would have been disastrous for his arm and his eye. Steve's face was a collage of colors, his eye less swollen although he still looked like he'd lost the fight. He was a much more complacent patient than Danny had expected but he thought Steve was trying very hard to be agreeable, even without the pretty bubbles to distract him.

They were on the couch watching the Indiana Jonestrilogy. Danny told him if he was going to insist on being dragged by police vans, he at least needed to learn from the best.

"A leather jacket, Steve," Danny said, unconsciously massaging Steve's feet where they lay in his lap. "That's how you dress to be dragged under a truck."

"Right. Because we all need leather jackets in Hawaii," Steve said.

"He was in Jordan. In the desert. The desert," Danny said, waving his free hand at the TV in emphasis.

"Should I ride horses down Ala Moana too?"

"Sure. Because then everyone would know you are certifiably crazy. Not just me."

Steve grinned at that, like Danny had just complimented him. Danny shook his head, focusing back on the movie as his hand slid inside the bottom of Steve's sweatpants to knead his calf muscles.

"I remember, you know," Steve said casually, his focus apparently on the movie.

"Remember what? That you are truly nuts?" Danny asked.

"Everything I said right before I was released. As I was still coming out of the anesthesia," Steve said. He sounded completely relaxed and Danny felt no tension in his muscles.

"Okay," Danny said, shifting all of his focus to Steve. If Steve wanted to talk, he was certainly open to listening. They hadn't discussed Steve's combination confession/proposition but Danny had known it was only a matter of time before they did.

"I thought you'd ask about it," Steve said, watching Danny carefully.

"They were your confessions," Danny replied. "It was incumbent upon you to bring it up."

"Incumbent?" Steve asked with a laugh.

"So do you want to talk about propositioning me or make fun of me?"

"Are they mutually exclusive?" Steve asked sensibly.

"No," Danny had to agree. "I don't suppose they are."

"I was high," Steve confirmed. "But that doesn't make anything I said less true. It loosened my tongue, not implanted those thoughts."

"I figured," Danny said with a nod. "And don't think I haven't considered everything you said."

"I thought you might have. Have you reached any conclusions?" Steve asked. He sounded hopeful but not desperately so.

"I have," Danny teased.

"Would you care to share?" Steve asked with an edge of impatience. Instead of answering, Danny slid out from under Steve's feet, very carefully stretching out over him. Danny took advantage of the gasp of surprise to cover Steve's mouth with his own, kissing him. And not just kissing him but kissing him.

"How's that for an answer?" Danny asked with a pleased smile down at him.

"Better than I expected," Steve said, his left hand curling around the back of Danny's head. He pulled him down for another kiss, all their pent-up passion leaking into it. "This stupid cast," Steve said, looking at it. It was between them, preventing Danny to fully lay on top of Steve.

"We'll make do," Danny promised, kissing him again. "Right now I'd like to go upstairs and start the slide the rest of way down the scale."

"As you wish, Buttercup," Steve agreed with a laugh. He allowed Danny to pull him to his feet and up the stairs where they started the next chapter of their own story.